Sunday, November 6, 2011

Indie Travel - Fear

Fear. I wanted to visit Mexico without fear because everyone said "What are you crazy? Mexico is horrible, thousands of people are murdered there every year, bodies are dumped in shallow graves, heads cut off and rolled across dance floors.....seriously, are you crazy?"

Well, yes, I am. As a chubby older woman I figured the probability of rape had been greatly lessoned, and I don't do drugs, buy drugs, or frequent bars. More than likely I would have an uneventful trip.

Second day in San Cristobal, Chiapas, I went with the young woman who lived upstairs and her friend for an evening of bar hopping. We stopped at an ATM and I got 3,000 pesos. We spent the evening drinking and eating at outdoor patio bars, then went to a disco, and finally a restaurant. We met up with a number of their friends, mostly teachers at the college, and finally at about 1:00 am, I bowed out as they all went off to yet another bar. I got a taxi and told the driver my address on Callejon Don Bosco. The night was pitch dark, moonless with few streetlights, overcast and a bit foggy. Suddenly the driver turned off the main road that I knew, down a dark street. I panicked. The entire predicament appeared in my mind in a flash:  I'm in a cab with a big burly man, there are 3000 pesos in my pocket, nobody in the world has any idea where I am in this country where people disappear and are murdered all the time, and the man is taking me down a dark forbidding street. I almost screamed at him in Spanish, "Where are you going?"  He was startled and replied "This is Don Bosco!!" Then I realized he'd only heard a little of the address. It was late at night, he was probably as tired as I was. It still took a minute or two to calm down. We straightened out the problem, and unbeknownst to me, there were three streets in the area with Don Bosco in the name. I apologized to him when he took me right to my door. He was a decent man, who was almost as frightened by my unaccustomed outburst as I was by his unexpected action.

Anywhere else, I wouldn't have panicked as quickly, but all those horrible news reports, and the temerity of my friends giving me dire warnings set me up. Fear is a powerful thing.